Amidst the fracas surrounding the positional influences of the Obas in Yoruba land, Nobel laureate and playwright Wole Soyinka has come forward to declare that the Ooni of Ife is above all the Obas in Yoruba land.
Soyinka made his assertion after explaining that the Ooni rules Ile-Ife, which according to Yoruba folklore is the cradle of humanity and by interpretation the origin of all humankind.
He said; “The reality is that Kabiesi, the Ooni of Ife is above all, Ile-Ife is the cradle of humanity. We know what we know; we know what we accept and believe and that remains the fact…I don’t want you (Ooni) to spend any time or energy at all responding to counter or alternative theories. It is not necessary.
The influence of the Ooni and Ile-Ife as the cradle of mankind transcended this region. Ife monarch was recognised and referred above other Obas outside the shores of Nigeria.
If you walk on the street of Cuba or Brazil, somebody will tap you on your shoulder because they know you are black, they say ‘who are you?’ And you say ‘I am Osun, Ogun, Sango’. At the end, they will ask you how is the Ooni? It means the Yoruba race, culture is beyond this environment.”